Nissan GT-R crowned Motor Trend Car of the Year

Click above for high-res gallery of the Nissan GT-R

Do you sense a pattern here? Not only has the Nissan GT-R won just about every comparison test on the planet, but it's also racked up a Popular Science Best of What's New award, Car of the Year honors from Automobile Magazine, and now the GT-R can add Motor Trend's CotY trophy to its mantle, as well. Calling it simply "Ichiban", the MT team praised Nissan's supercar-for-the-people as a standout in a pretty deep pool of contenders. While practically none of its CotY competitors even comes close to matching the GT-R's performance, several that are almost as good in their own right made the finals. Good as they are, the Honda Fit, Hyundai Genesis, BMW 1 series, Jaguar XF, Acura TL and TSX, Audi A4, Mazda6 and Volkswagen Passat CC just couldn't match the dominance of Gozilla. It would have been more difficult for MT to justify picking something other than the GT-R for this honor, and we can't think of any reason to disagree with their choice. Full press release after the jump.

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[Source: Motor Trend]



- High-tech sports car takes trophy in one of toughest-ever "Car of the Year" fields; The GT-R puts the "Super in Superiority"-

LOS ANGELES, CA (November 18, 2008) -- Motor Trend (, the leading automotive authority and part of Source Interlink Media, LLC, a subsidiary of media and marketing services company Source Interlink Companies, Inc (NASDAQ: SORC), announced today the selection of the Nissan GT-R as the 2009 Motor Trend Car of the Year™. The complete report on Motor Trend's 2009 Car of the Year will be published in the magazine's January issue, available on newsstands December 2, 2008.

"No Nissan has been as formidable or as capable as the GT-R, and no 2009 contender crushes our criteria like the GT-R. For that, it deserves our Golden Calipers," said Angus MacKenzie, editor-in-chief of Motor Trend. "The Nissan GT-R rewrites the rule-book for high-performance vehicles. This technologically advanced coupe delivers a level of performance, handling, and efficiency that rivals the world's best-known supercars, at a fraction of the price."

MacKenzie continued, "Exhilarating to drive, the GT-R sets benchmarks every automaker in the world will be studying. For a company, like Nissan, this car is an extraordinary achievement."

The 2009 GT-R is the sixth generation of Nissan's flagship sports car. It is the first to come from a "clean slate" design -- all the others were based on Japanese-market Skyline models -- and the first to be globally marketed. A single technician in a climate controlled clean-room environment hand assembles the all-new VR38DETT 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 as well as the GR6 six-speed twin-clutch transmission.

Other innovations include what Nissan calls the GT-R's "Independent Transaxle 4WD." In other words, the GT-R is the world's first production car to feature a rear-mounted transaxle and two independent propeller shafts, allowing each axle to control tire grip without manipulation of the other.

Nissan engineers paid careful attention to reducing friction losses in the GT-R, which means the car makes the most efficient use of its power, despite its all-wheel drive power train. As a result, the GT-R delivers 16mpg in the city and 21mpg on the highway, impressive for a car capable of a "cornea-melting" 0-60mph run of 3.3 seconds, and a top speed of over 190mph.

The 2009 Field of Contenders
Motor Trend editors faced the daunting challenge of choosing one winner from one of the toughest Car of the Year fields in the history of the award. Even as the economy spirals down, editors noted that the auto industry has rolled out a number of significant vehicles.

"This was a year that saw record gas prices, a meltdown on Wall Street, and it is a tough time for automakers around the world," said MacKenzie. "The irony is 2008 was a vintage year for cool, interesting, and compelling cars. Of the 17 all-new or significantly upgraded vehicles eligible for the 2009 Car of the Year award, a bunch were real show-stoppers. Hero cars included the Jaguar XF, Dodge Challenger, and the GT-R. BMW's tight 1-Series, Pontiac's suave G8, and Audi's coolly restrained A4, plus Honda's cheeky Fit, Hyundai's impressive Genesis sedan, and Lincoln's glitzy MKS, were all hugely significant contenders for widely differing reasons. Style setters included the Volkswagen Passat CC, the Mazda6, and the Nissan Maxima."

To be eligible for Car of the Year, a vehicle must be totally new or redesigned, and released in the 12 months prior to January 1, 2009. Besides the Nissan GT-R, this year's field of contenders for Car of the Year included:

Acura TL
Acura TSX
Audi A4
BMW 135i
Dodge Challenger R/T
Honda Fit

Hyundai Genesis
Jaguar XF
Lincoln MKS
Nissan Maxima
Pontiac G8

Pontiac Vibe
Toyota Corolla
Toyota Matrix
Volkswagen Passat CC

First Time Car Honors
With the GT-R, Nissan captures the golden calipers for the first time in the Car of the Year category. Previously, Nissan has taken Motor Trend Import of the Year™, and Sport/Utility of the Year™ honors.

"The GT-R proves Nissan can build highly desirable, enthusiast automobiles," said MacKenzie. "It is already respected world-wide, and it earned this honor."

MacKenzie added, "Tested and developed in the U.S., Germany and China, the GT-R exhibits a uniquely Japanese approach to high performance motoring, from the aggressive styling that clearly draws on contemporary Japanese art forms such as 'Manga', to the on-board vehicle information graphics developed in conjunction with Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of the Gran Turismo games."

About the Testing and Evaluation Process
Each year since 1949, the editorial staff of MOTOR TREND has evaluated eligible vehicles based on three key criteria: Superiority, Significance, and Value. Superiority refers to innovation in engineering, technology, design, utilization of resources, safety, and packaging. Significance

levels the playing field and looks for class-leading levels of vehicle dynamics and performance, build quality and execution, and how well the vehicle performs its intended function. Finally, the all-important Value question asks, "What does this vehicle deliver in relation to what the consumer has to pay to purchase and own it?" and "What do buyers get for their money versus the competition?"

The complete report on the MOTOR TREND 2009 Car of the Year testing and selection is available online now at, and will be published in the January issue of MOTOR TREND, available on newsstands December 2, 2008.

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